Syria: The Battle for Sovereignty

Angie Todd

On July 20, the UN Security Council agreed to extend its observer mission in Syria for a final 30 days. The decision was made amid calls, from France and the UK in particular, for further sanctions against the Bashar al Assad government under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter which also allows for the use of force, and U.S. insistence on a rapid regime change there.

Two weeks later, its special envoy, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, resigned from his role as mediator in the conflict, given the intractable situation in the country. Despite Annan’s efforts to end the violence in Syria through a 6-point peace plan, approved by the government of President Bashar al-Assad, Russia and China, among others, his was a mission impossible.

The escalation of violent actions on the part of certain opposition groups has made it impossible for President Bashar al Assad’s government to agree to a ceasefire and withdraw national troops from the cities affected by the conflict, such as Aleppo, very close to the border with Turkey.

Initially peaceful demonstrations for internal reform in March of 2011 were immediately utilized by the Western powers to destabilize the country by fueling a civil war, with the intention of imposing a government more compliant to their designs for the Middle East region as a whole. Mercenaries were infiltrated into Syria from Egypt, the Lebanon and Turkey, sponsored by the self-styled Syrian National Council, certain members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and increasingly supplied with more and more sophisticated weapons and communication systems by the GCC and the United States, among others. Thus distinct oppositions were created, internal and external.

The internal opposition largely supported President Al Assad’s decision to call a referendum for constitutional reforms, followed by National Assembly elections in May 2012, in the midst of a state of war in certain cities like Homs. Despite this situation, 51.62% of the population voted for 250 legislators representing 12 political parties, seven of which were new ones accepted in August 2011. The “other” opposition refused to participate, its intentions being to bring down the government, which was not a possibility in electoral terms. The government Socialist Ba’ath Party secured 60% of the vote.

The UN observer mission, initiated April 16, met with an increase in violent attacks, including on its own vehicles, perpetrated by mercenary groups in the country which rejected its presence.

The original objective of the U.S. government and NATO allies to reedit the Libyan script in Syria has not gone according to plan, given the resistance of the majority of the people and the national army, who support of Al Assad’s efforts to promote reform and preserve the country’s sovereignty, in addition to a lack of cohesion among the armed opposition factions over the division of power.

This resistance has been aided by Russia and China’s use of their UN Security Council veto against outside military intervention on two occasions and their consistent diplomatic efforts in search of a reasonable solution to the Syrian conflict.

The entire operation to make Syria ungovernable has been paralleled by an intensively orchestrated media war of virtual aggression to make the unpalatable – the overthrow of a legitimate government – palatable for public opinion. This media war has also steadily intensified over the past 16 months: initially accusing the government security forces of killing civilians protesting for democratic reforms as opposed to confronting mercenary groups dealing in acts of terrorism, and inflating the numbers of civilian deaths with those of members of the Syrian army. This tactic has continued as the situation has deteriorated and the armed opposition’s training and supplies, including tanks and chemical weapons, have permitted larger-scale, more sophisticated terrorist attacks on the population and strategic targets in Homs, Houla, Aleppo and Damascus, consistently directly or indirectly attributed to government forces. Other ingredients include the use of old footage (in one case of fighting in Iraq), invented incidents of fighting (one filmed in Qatar) and a number of video reports from NGO’s, with the disclaimer that their sources cannot be confirmed. Hot on the heels of Kofi Annan’s definitive withdrawal came news leaked by the U.S. media that President Obama authorized $509 million to be channeled through the CIA for arms, advice and finance for NGO’s operating in Syria.

Kofi Annan’s resignation came in the midst of attempts by the national army to restore governability in Aleppo and certain parts of Damascus, reports of mercenaries slaughtering government supporters, refugees from the violence fleeing into Turkey and immediate calls for an air corridor for humanitarian purposes. It should not be forgotten that it was an air corridor or no-flight zone which facilitated the NATO air strikes on Libya, which resulted in 6,000 deaths and 180,000 injuries among the population.

It is also arguable that the UN observer mission has been used as part of a cynical media war exercise, frightening in its implications for creating a climate for destroying the national independence of Syria and any chance of peace in the Middle East.

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